As a fellow early 2013 MBP owner (15"), I was wondering about this as well and I can assure you that we'll be comfy till at least 2022.
Here's my reasoning:
We'll be getting macOS 10.15, so even if Apple decides to cut off support for our Macs when 10.16 comes out, it means we'll still be getting 2 more years of security updates. So unless they introduce some sort of killer feature that we desperately need, we won't have to buy new Macs in order to be safe and sound till late 2022.
Now, I said "even if" because I don't think Apple will drop us with 10.16 but with 10.17. In that case we still have 4 more years, till 2023.
This is based on Apple's ~7 years of support policy when it comes to Macs. It's not set in stone, but it's a very good indicator.
As for the future, I'm cautiously optimistic:
- Intel expects Apple to drop them and ship their own ARM based Mac in 2020 or 2021. They will probably switch over MacBooks first, and desktops later.
- Apple's working on "redesigning the redesign" (LOL) of their keyboards by returning to a scissor-based mechanism.
- Apple has lowered a few prices here and there with their new Mac lineup. In the case of the MBA's lower price tag, they give even more value by making the display True Tone!
I hope they'll also realize MagSafe needs to come back, include more ports, and as the icing on the cake bring back the illuminated Apple logo ^^
Don't hold your breath for those though.
So by the time we need to go shopping for a new MacBook, it's very possible that we'll find ourselves in the 5th gen of MacBooks. Having dodged the bullet that was the 4th gen
Btw, as I was typing this post I realized that we're kind of in a luxury situation. Our MBPs aren't defect (yet) so getting no more software support can leave you thinking "but this machine still works fine, just give me those new software features!" which is very understandable. It's an issue people with broken laptops don't have LOL
Now, you don't have to follow Apple's official support policy though. There are quite a few threads of people running 10.14 just fine on no longer supported hardware for example.
Or you can also put Linux on it and get at least another 6y out of the machine (full OS updates, not merely security updates!), although that may not be an option depending on how heavily invested you are into Apple's ecosystem.
MacOS Catalina (10.15) supports the Early 2013 MacBook Pro. If Apple does decide to drop support for the Mid 2012 / Early 2013 in 10.16, I will be disappointed.
10 or 11 years of security updates is perfectly reasonable when compared to other desktop platforms, in fact any less would mean putting the Mac at a disadvantage. But Apple is fine with planned obsolescence of the Mac as it means quicker new hardware sales.
I have a non-retina mid-2012 13” MBP. It is my understanding that support is based upon the last year of manufacture, and it is my understanding they manufactured my particular model (as what would have been the equivalent of a nTB model until this week) well into late 2013. So, I would expect to get 10.15 and security updates through 2022 based upon my understanding of the seven year time window.
If all goes as planned, by the time everything is said and done, I will have spent roughly $2,000.00 (purchase, support, software, upgrade to SSD and 16gb Ram, etc) for a laptop that was supported for a decade and used as a primary, every day machine for 90%+ of that time (likely to get a scissor-key 13” if they’re worth a hoot and lacking major issues once they hit the Apple refurb store in 2021 or so). That’s one hell of a value.